UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Yemen's president called on Wednesday for more practical support from abroad to help his country's security forces fight al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is based in Yemen and has mounted operations in neighboring Saudi Arabia, as well as attempting to launch attacks against the United States.
"We invite our international partners in combating terrorism to provide more logistical and technical support to the security forces and counter-terrorism units and to expand intelligence cooperation," Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
Restoring stability to Yemen has become an international priority given fears that Islamist fighters could entrench themselves in the country and threaten world number-one oil exporter Saudi Arabia and important world shipping lanes.
Washington, which fears the spread of Islamist militancy in Yemen, has stepped up drone attacks there this year.
Hadi reaffirmed Yemen's commitment in the fight against militants and said internal and external support for al Qaeda must stop.
In a separate speech broadcast on Yemeni television on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Yemeni republic, Hadi offered dialogue to Islamist militants, including al Qaeda. However, he said they must agree first to put down their weapons and reject support from abroad.
(Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by David Brunnstrom)